Our top tips for rocking your next networking social event (part 2)
While these hot summer days might make you tempted to take a long vacation and ignore any non-essential work, don’t slack on your business development activities. In today’s competitive business environment, building and maintaining relationships is essential, and networking is the best low-cost way to do that – and as far as we’re concerned, if you’re going to be working in the summer, it might as well be from sunny patios at networking socials, right?
To help you be successful at these upcoming events, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips for rocking your next networking social…but if you’re not already subscribed to our newsletter, you missed the first half of the list! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the PDF version right here, but make sure you sign up for our newsletter so you never miss out again.
Our top tips for your next networking social event (continued)
Start a conversation by finding positive common ground: The best conversation starter is one that allows you to be enthusiastic, happy, or positive. Talking about pop culture, movies, TV shows, or local events are usually safe topics of conversation, and they can help to show that you’re socially active. Politics can be polarizing and sports aren’t interesting to everyone, so avoid opening a conversation with these topics.
Never begin a chat by asking about religion or family: Religion is (hopefully) a pretty obvious no-no when you meet someone new, but questions about family should also be banned as a conversation starter. You don’t know what a person’s family situation is, so only discuss family if they open that door first. For example, instead of asking “Are you taking a family vacation this summer?”, try asking “Do you have plans over the summer?”
Ask questions that encourage discussion and conversation: “How/why” questions foster discussion much better than “yes/no” questions do. For example, you could ask “How did you get into this line of work?” or “Why do you think X is a great thing for Y?” You should also always follow-up this question with something that comes up from their answer – this shows that you’ve been paying attention.
Find ways to break free politely: Remember that the person you’re talking to needs to network with other people too, so try not to take up too much of any one person’s time. If you’d like to move on from a conversation but aren’t sure how to do it smoothly, try saying something like, “I see one of my guests has arrived and I should go greet them” or “I promised so-and-so I’d catch up with them”. You can also try “the hand-off”, and introduce them to another guest who they can connect with. Remember that even if you’re not interested in following up with this person, it’s still polite to end your conversation by asking for their business card.
Always follow up with interesting potential clients or partners: Don’t let all those business cards you collected go to waste! Be sure to follow up in a timely manner with people you want to chat with further. Sending a quick email within a week after you meet will help ensure they still remember who you are.
Video is king when it comes to website content…right? We’re here to burst that bubble because we think that’s not necessarily true. Don’t miss our hot take in our next blog post.